A Letter to the Home I Left Behind

Dear home,

It’s been a long time since we’ve last seen each other… OK, not that long; I think Thanksgiving was the last time I was back. Nonetheless, as you can tell, things have changed for the both of us. And probably for the better.

I was thinking about you the other day while walking around my current city. My partner and I have been debating whether we should move back to you after I’m done with school. This is a common topic of discussion that comes up for us when we interact with people from back home. “Are you ever going to move back? When are you moving back? You should move back,” is all we hear. For me, I’m sorry but I have very little reason to move back to you.

I’ve made my peace with you. The city of Anaheim to where my memories still reside, and pretty much most of Orange County to where I leave the part of me that I wish to not reunite with again — leaving was the best decision I’ve ever made. But I didn’t write to you to gloat. I simply wanted to let you know about how much I’ve learned about myself since we’ve parted ways.

I’m smarter. Not to say that I was dumb before but I’ve learned to make better choices now that I’ve taken myself out of your toxic environment. No longer do I live life as if I were to die tomorrow, throwing my cares against the wind, living life recklessly. I reflect more often now about the decisions I need to make in my life and I make plans for the future. I don’t like to “YOLO” as I have done in the past, but rather I live life in preparation that I anticipate growing to an old age. I still have fun, though! I experience joy in each and every day and I indulge myself in the simple things life offers. My sphere of happiness has changed dramatically since I’ve moved. Thank you for helping me realize that.

I also found a new love in academics. When I moved away from you and was adjusting to my new surroundings, I immersed myself in my studies. Back at home, I needed to find reasons to stay committed to school. Now, I have to find reasons to take mental breaks from school because of this love interest. Thank you for helping me recognize my potential.

I’m braver. I didn’t know how to use my voice back then. There were several moments that I can recount where I should have stood up for myself, but I didn’t have the confidence to challenge others yet. I was still a shy and timid girl, still unaware of the power I have in me. It’s amazing how much has changed over the past four years. I no longer need to abuse substances in order to find a false sense of courage. I become stronger each day, knowing that I am comfortable in settings and situations that I used to avoid in the past. I like myself more now than I ever did before.

I still have a lot to learn. Of course, I’m still young and I don’t know all there is to know in life — neither do I think that it’s possible to know everything in life anyway. I am still developing and maturing as I write this. When it comes to a career, I’m still very much at the beginning phase of what that will look like for me. But I am certainly in a place where I am more than ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for challenging me and helping me grow into the person I am today. Without the experiences I gained in California, I wouldn’t be in the mental space I am at today. I don’t know if I’ll ever permanently move back to you, but I do know that a part of you will always live inside of me. Thank you for helping me understand that.

By Luann

Feminist, Pinay, coffee lover, boba aficionado and pop culture enthusiast. Current graduate student in Peace and Conflict Studies. Dwelling in the rainy city of Portland, Oregon but always California dreaming. You can also read more of her articles at

2 replies on “A Letter to the Home I Left Behind”

I love your letter. I’m not young, I’m at the other end of my life. And almost every decade I think about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed in my life. And I remember where I started and the people who populated my life. I’m still learning too. Thankfully that never changes. It’s good to acknowledge myself and also appreciate where I came from. Good for you!

Leave a Reply